Mind Pictures: Strategies That Enhance Mental Imagery While Reading

In this lesson, a three-pronged approach is used to help students create mental images while reading. The first approach develops schemata (prior knowledge) and visual awareness (the understanding and interpretation of visual images) by introducing content-related picture books and having students respond to the illustrations using a series of question prompts. The next approach capitalizes on existing visual comprehension using a strategy called Watch-Read-Watch-Read (W-R-W-R), where video clips build background knowledge and assist students in developing "memory pegs" as they read. Finally, students use a strategy similar to the think-aloud approach, creating drawings to illustrate and understand relevant information gleaned from print. This lesson uses multiple reading strategies.

Standards & Objectives

Learning objectives: 

Students will:

  • Recognize that visual images aid in comprehension
  • Examine their own process for constructing visual aids, particularly when comprehension of a text breaks down
  • Demonstrate the effective use of multiple strategies for creating "mind pictures" and "memory pegs" while reading independently

Lesson Variations

Blooms taxonomy level: 
Extension suggestions: 

The following websites can be used to find extension activities to use before, during, and after the reading of Maniac Magee.

  • ClassZone.com: Maniac Magee 
  • Ideas for Fifth Grade Teachers: The Legend of Maniac Magee 

Helpful Hints

Materials and Technology:

  • Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli (Little Brown, 1990) or another novel with a companion movie
  • Movie version of Maniac Magee (Nickelodeon Network, 2003)
  • Overhead projector or LCD screen
  • Related picture books with themes of homelessness or prejudice